A huge storm with hurricane-force wind gusts and blizzard conditions has hammered the northeastern US and mid-Atlantic coast, cutting power to about 650,000 homes and businesses, shutting down travel and leaving at least four people dead.
By Saturday, Airlines had cancelled more than 5,300 flights and three major airports serving New York City, as well as Boston’s Logan Airport, closed.
The mammoth storm that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic dumped more than 90cm of snow across the
Northeast, the National Weather Service said.
Flooding was a concern along the coast, but the storm did not appear to create major problems in New York and New Jersey, states hit hardest during October’s Superstorm Sandy.
Snow piled up so high in some places that people could not open their doors to get outside. Streets were mostly deserted and inaccessible.
The storm dumped 74cm of snow on Portland, Maine, breaking a 1979 record, the weather service said.
Winds gusted to 134km per hour at Cuttyhunk, New York, and brought down trees across the region.
The storm centred on Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with the highest snowfall total, 97cm, in Milford, Connecticut.
Storm’s force slackening
At least three people died in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy told a news conference.
An 80-year-old woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver while clearing her driveway, and a 40-year-old man collapsed
while shovelling snow. One man, 73, slipped outside his home and was found dead on Saturday, Malloy said.
A Boston fire official said an 11-year-old boy died.
Massachusetts and Connecticut lifted vehicle travel bans as the storm slowly moved eastward on Saturday afternoon.
Even as the storm’s force was slackening, the National Weather Service forecast a possible blizzard in the Great
Snow and, in some areas, blizzard conditions were expected across parts of Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming through the weekend into Monday, it said.
Utility companies reported about 650,000 customers without electricity across nine states as the wet, heavy snow brought down tree branches and power lines.
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was shut down on Friday, but there was no threat to the public, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
In New York, hundreds of cars got stuck on the Long Island Expressway on Friday, and dozens remained disabled early Saturday as police worked to free them.